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Morning Java: Letang? Already?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column from the Pirates’ spring training tries to take a realistic look at how they could improve over 2013, and all signs point to one area.

Here’s a video done by the Trib’s Chris Horner of my on-field interview with new hitting coach Jeff Branson before the game yesterday …

If you missed it, the Sunday column strung together a collection of tales and observations from down here. And in the news coverage, Gregory Polanco got the profile treatment from Travis Sawchik.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

Here’s Chris Horner’s updated-daily spring training photo gallery.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> The short-handed Penguins get swept by the Flyers, who did quite well while being short-handed in a different sense. Josh Yohe reports from Consol.

Kris Letang was cleared to return to full practice, Rob Rossi reports.

Wait, what?

Six weeks after a stroke?

After being diagnosed with a hole in his heart that hasn’t yet been repaired?

There’s absolutely no doubt doctors did their diligence here, just as there’s absolutely no doubt they know best. But what’s medically clear and what’s common sense aren’t always the same. Rich Peverley does not have the same heart condition as Letang, but he was cleared — twice! — by doctors in Dallas to return. One of those clearances came just days before his collapse after he had a heart arrhythmia. Again, those might well have been exactly the right medical calls, but the lack of common sense with Peverley nearly got the guy killed. That’s not my opinion. It’s fact. He nearly died. And he nearly died as a direct result of the same condition for which he’d been cleared.

I wouldn’t expect that common sense in this case to come from Letang, any more than I would any athlete. As is now famous from Peverley’s tale, he asked to go back into the game after his incident. But I sure hope that there’s a whole lot of adults in the picture helping Letang make the right call.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

Here’s the latest on the Flyers from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

>> The Talib Zanna Show is headed down here, it turns out, as Pitt found itself a No. 9 seed and will open in Orlando against Colorado. Kevin Gorman has all that and much more.

This placement for the Panthers has changed my plans for the week, as I’ll now stay down here and meet the team in mid-state at mid-week. I was going to fly wherever they went, obviously, but this simplifies things a ton.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pitt page.

>> Jerricho Cotchery will visit Carolina on Tuesday, Mark Kaboly has learned. The Steelers don’t want to lose him, but they’re apparently willing to let him poke around a bit.

Columnist Joe Starkey gives the Steelers’ offseason an A grade so far.

>> I’ll call in to TribLIVE Radio from McKechnie Field at 11:30 a.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. Good column. Now if they can carry that intensity into the season, we can see those 94 wins again and more.

  2. Ya really hoping tanger isn’t pushing it. But if he practices a couple weeks and gets monitored that’s probably not a bad thing. Playoffs still weeks away.

  3. bpn8pitt says:

    I was deadset on a defensive player with the #1 but if Cotchery follows Sanders, a lot changes.

    Sorry Markus Wheaton, haven’t seen enough yet.

    Take it easy, Kris Letang. Got your whole life ahead.

  4. Bizrow says:

    My late wife had a tiny hole in her heart, she would get TSA’s now and then

    Of course she was not an ice hockey player

    She was a field hockey goalie

    IMHO, Drs know what they are doing

    Just sayin

  5. Joe says:

    Don’t you remember pens originally said a week after letang issues and scratch in LA, that he would be back in 6 weeks?

    DK: They said 6-8 weeks, but they did so with no degree of certainty and, in fact, behind the scenes discussed the possibility that he might be done for the season.

    There’s some anger I detect at my stance here and on other social media, and I’m kind of confused by it. I’m advising caution. Nothing but. Hardly strikes me as some radical position.

    Sure hope a couple tough losses to the Flyers aren’t getting people hyper-defensive about wanting Letang back in the lineup.

  6. Mike Vee says:

    I’d hate to see Letang come back this year and risk any sort of long term damage or worse and I say that as a human being not a hockey fan. I have bashed him continually for two years due to his inconsistent play, but this is a bit different. It’s not that at this point he wouldn’t help (he certainly would) but honestly, does anybody really think this team is going the distance this year?

    This team will be watching the Cup from home and will not go further until Bylsma is gone. We’ve wasted four years now of 87, 71, 29, 58 being in their prime and a stubborn GM and an incompetent head coach are killing us.

    Did anyone see the ridiculous power-play lines today?

    How about down by a goal with 5 minutes left and DB still insists on putting Sid head to head with their best defensive forwards?

    It’s been the same garbage for the last four years and yet it’s business as usual for the Pens. And please no excuses for the injuries. Yeah, it makes a difference but mark my words, we will not beat the Bruins or Flyers in a best-of-seven.

    OK, I feel better. Well, maybe a little. Enjoy Florida, DK. I’m so glad to be gone from that state for good!

    DK: I hear you on the Florida count, man. Strange place.

    As for the Penguins, one question: If they had swept the Flyers rather than the reverse, how many people would be singing from the heavens that they were able to do so despite missing their top three wingers and top two defensemen?

    Can’t work just one way.

  7. Bizrow says:

    Not from here

  8. Bizrow says:

    The kid is 26? With a wife and a young son. It’s early in his recovery, I think they will move with great caution.

    DK: I hope so, because allowing him right back into regular team practices at the minimum point of his projected recovery doesn’t exactly strike me as ‘great caution.’

  9. Bizrow says:

    Yes, but I don’t think they would let him do that if there was any reasonable doubt Dejan

    A fellows life is at stake

  10. I suffered a cryptogenic cerebellar stroke in June of 2008 — cryptogenic is a fancy word meaning no one knows why I stroked. Letang is “lucky” because the neurologists have the PFO to hang their hats on as to why he suffered a stroke. What concerns me is that Letang said he was still feeling funny in the days and weeks after the stroke. I guess that’s natural, but he also said that doctors wouldn’t know for sure their reasoning for his stroke for two or three weeks. We’ve never gotten that updated report. Typically, if someone has a stroke, they deal with a residual effect, whether that’s paralysis, trouble swallowing, dizziness/balance. Does Letang suffer from any of these residual effects? If not, he’s either very lucky or had a TIA, which short for Transient Ischemic Attack. Those effects are a precursor to a full-on stroke. PFO’s (or holes in the heart) are the subject of insurance claims right now. Insurance companies don’t want to be on the hook for repairing heart holes, because they are fairly common. Last I had heard, companies will only pay on PFO’s if patients suffer a second verifiable stroke. Letang can thank his mom for the congenital PFO, which is supposed to close up shortly after birth. If Letang has no other issues than the PFO, then he’s got a good shot at coming back healthy. As I mentioned before, Letang has never said whether the PFO was accompanied by any other symptoms which make him prone to stroke, such as small veins, a tendency to clot, etc. Obviously, blood thinners are used to prevent clots from traveling into the lungs or brain, but we need to know more from the docs.

  11. Joe says:

    DK. I hold no anger. I thought it was 4-6 weeks. But let’s be honest. It was a very minor stroke. The media outside of Pittsburgh spiraled this out of control.

    Letang works harder on this to team to be the best at his job than anyone on this team, including Sid. I knew he would beat the odds personally, but that may be me. Anything they deadline they give Kris, he will try 2x harder to beat.

  12. Hankpsu says:

    I say this coming from a medical background, but obviously with absolutely zero knowledge of Letang’s particular case. Many patients who are considered low-risk (as a 26-year old world class athlete undoubtedly would be) and have a patent foramen ovale (the “hole in the heart” Letang has), are managed with either no intervention or a daily aspirin. Both of those circumstances would seem to me to be compatible with a return to the ice, and further there would seem to be little risk of Letang further endangering himself by playing/practicing as compared to him just sitting on his couch.

    If his physicians have given him the OK, then I would be far less concerned about Letang than I would have been by somebody like Peverley with a history of arrhythmia.

    The question of when or if his PFO should be repaired is an entirely different matter.

    This link has some relevant information (albeit shrouded in medical jargon):

    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/156863-treatment

  13. Joe says:

    There’s no way Letang comes back this year with any degree of uncertainty. Get real Pittsburgh.

  14. Bob Pine says:

    This is a silly argument. If Letang is cleared, feels fine and wants to play then why shouldn’t he play? If he waits another month is Letang somehow going to be MORE cleared than he already is? What is the magic number of days that Letang should sit out to make all of these armchair medical experts comfortable about Letang playing?

    This is a fairly common condition. Considering the seriousness and importance of the body part involved, the heart, I think it’s fair to assume that these doctors are taking the utmost care and precaution before clearing Letang. This comparison to Peverly is spurious. Peverly has an irregular heartbeat but never had a reaction like he did the other night. Let’s see how long, if ever, it takes him to be cleared again.

    I love the preface to any sentence that begins, “I’m not a doctor, but…” Or “I’m not a lawyer, but…” Then almost assuredly a medical or legal opinion is offered. Lawyers and doctors study for years and pass extremely difficult tests to become licensed experts in their fields. Be worried for Letang- he plays a dangerous sport and he does have a condition that gave him a stroke at a young age, but unless you have some medical reason as to why you disagree with these doctors, saying that Letang should come back so early is nothing more than a baseless and unsupported opinion.

  15. Mike Vee says:

    I agree but you know I have harped on this for a long time. Our coach does not adjust his game plan. He’s like a stubborn old admiral that would rather go down with the ship than try a new plan. There are still a ton of issues on team defense and a lot of that is the forwards not the D-Men (no forecheck). The team has slowly turned into a very soft team. Did you catch Rinaldo come about 2 inches from planting Malkin into the 3rd row today? He and Sid were continually punched slashed and run at. Funny because I dont remember Giroux getting hit once today. The tough team I loved has been whithering slowly away. They play on their heels way too much and everyone always says, Its just a few losses, they’ll come around, their in a rut, don’t panic etc etc. This team on paper should have been the top team in the league over the last few years but they still can’t win the big games and continually self-destruct. We aren’t getting rid of 71 and 87 so there’s only one option left-thats DB. It’ll happen this summer….I hope

  16. Bizrow says:

    I truly understand the concern with Kris and the timing

    I just don’t think the club nor the Doctors would let him on the ice if there was any doubt about his life

    That would be totally irresponsible.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    + many.

  18. DK: And what, pray tell, would that render your opinion on the matter. Bob?

    Spurious?

    No more or less significant than mine?

    Doesn’t amount to much of an argument.

    More information about anything comes over time. That isn’t complicated. It allows for more testing, more observation. It’s called being cautious, which is all that I’m advocating and apparently has you really disturbed for some reason.

    The Peverley comparison was spelled out in the entry above as being based on doctors’ clearance, not condition. And he had an arrhythmia only 11 days earlier but was cleared to resume playing almost immediately.

    Finally, show me where I ‘disagree with these doctors,’ other than your imagination. I express hope that they’re being cautious. Let’s hope that they are.

    Not sure which part of this you’re missing or why.

    Tough weekend?

  19. bpn8pitt says:

    Not much of a hockey guy but I have to say…The Penguins are probably going to win the Metro easily. Wire to wire? A 2 seed in the East. Overcame several major injuries and played what? Close to .700 hockey, shuffling 20 some guys from the AHL?

    And their doomed.
    Fans and a lot of media anyway. When it ends, it will be the worst, Best season I can remember a Pittsburgh franchise completing

  20. DK: Good thing no one is suggesting anything that stupid, then. Of course the doctors are being responsible. Of course they’re operating without a doubt. But just as obviously, they can be wrong.

    I’ve got no doubt Peverley’s doctors felt no less confident in their assessments. Imagine how they feel now.

  21. DK: Question, Hank: How is your opening scenario affected by said 26-year-old having a stroke?

  22. theplanisworking says:

    I don’t have a hole in my heart, nor am I a world-class athlete (nor do I have LeTang’s hair) …… but I have had a heart condition(s) since the 8th grade. Enlarged heart, leaking valves, arrythmia, bad arteries, etc. My cardiologist always says as long as I take my medicines, and don’t overdo the exercise, and eat right, I will be “low-risk”. That’s easy for him to say. My family history is littered with heart conditions, big and small, and no matter what my doctor says, I will always err on the side of caution when doing anything.

    LeTang can be cleared til the cows come home, but as Reverend Lucky and I said the other day “twinkling of an eye”, ” in an instant” things can change. Just look at Peverly……… one minute fine, next minute, “clinically dead”, and had to be revived.

    My non-expert advice to Mr. LeTang would be to do what I would do in his shoes……… don’t risk it. Young, married with a small child, way too much to live for vs. trying to play again without 101% certainty nothing will ever go wrong. In my mind, it just isn’t worth it at all.

    Let us hope common sense and the Good Lord’s mercy guide this decision.

  23. DK: Letang described himself in that interview session as working with doctors to make sure his motor skills and body movements were functioning properly. He didn’t expand on that.

  24. DK: There’s such a thing as a minor stroke at age 26? This is a media issue? You’d applaud Letang for trying twice as hard ‘to beat’ this?

    Wow, what to say to any of that?

  25. DK: But Peverley wasn’t ‘fine’ just 11 days earlier.

  26. theplanisworking says:

    My mistake DK on the choice of words……… he “appeared” fine on the bench, until he collapsed.

    All the more reason to use even more caution in LeTang’s case.

    Just as an aside, who has the final say on this? Doctors? Pens FO? LeTang himself? The League? Just curious………

  27. Mike Vee says:

    26 and is found on the floor by his mother in law. That seems pretty minor. Either you have a stroke or you don’t, kinda like being pregnant I’d say.

  28. scapper says:

    I had a hole in my heart the night Cabrera slid past Spanky, and I went to work the very next day.

  29. scapper says:

    On a more serious note, I am 100% in agreement with DK on this one. Letang was found on the floor of his house just a few weeks ago. Put the skates and pads away and see you in October…maybe. Just madness.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    I haven’t read anything about exactly what Letang’s doctors have said – only what I heard on the news last night. I wonder if it is a case of them saying that he is cleared to resume practicing but they also could suggest that he not resume practicing now. If they cleared him but left that choice up to him?

  31. Thundercrack says:

    It sounds to me that the new hitting coach wants every hitter to have a plan.

  32. Thundercrack says:

    A few years ago I wondered if Jason Grilli would be the guy who took over for Joel Hanrahan and could be a pretty good closer.

    Since last year I’ve wondered if Bryan Morris could be the guy who eventually takes over for Grilli.

  33. Real deal says:

    How does physical activity pose a greater risk of stroke? That is the real issue in my mind Isn’t Letang just as likely to have a recurrance doing nothing as he is playing hockey? Didn’t the first episode take place away from the rink?

  34. Unfortunately, you know only too well how it is with hockey players and other athletes, who simply can’t face extended inactivity, life away from the field and the cheering, adoring crowds, and, most of all, their limits and the fact that they’re only human. And then, there’s this ideal of the macho, tough guy sort so many of them tend to live by. And so, you keep hoping that there won’t be a death on the playing field, even if that is where these athletes would rather be if and when that happened.

  35. kr70 says:

    Bring back the Lumber Company and NOT Kris Letang.

  36. JAL says:

    JAL’s I Need Somebody Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02xO3foLaQc

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Make No Mistake, the Pirates Rotation is Set

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/a-trade-seems-likely-in-the-next-two-weeks-to-settle-the-bullpen.html

    A Trade Seems Likely in the Next Two Weeks to Settle the Bullpen

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/a-trade-seems-likely-in-the-next-two-weeks-to-settle-the-bullpen.html

    Why Gaby Sanchez Shouldn’t Be in the First Base Mix Against RHP

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/why-gaby-sanchez-shouldnt-be-in-the-first-base-mix-against-rhp.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates could deal from bullpen depth

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/3/16/5515622/pirates-could-deal-from-bullpen-depth

    7 Rumbunter

    Will Pirates Protect Andrew McCutchen All Season?

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/16/andrew-mccutchen-buzzed-papelbon/

    Pirates Confusing Grapefruit League Baseball Continues

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/16/confusing-grapefruit-league-baseball/

    8 Green Weenie

    3/16: Patsy, Little Poison, Pie and Abraham…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/03/316-patsy-little-poison-pie-and-abraham.html

    9 SaberBucs

    POLL: Pirate Contract Extensions.

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/03/16/poll-pirate-contract-extensions/

    10 Pirates 101

    How Will Pittsburgh Pirates Handle Crowded Bullpen?

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/pittsburghpirates/2014/03/16/how-will-pittsburgh-pirates-handle-crowded-bullpen/

  37. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Beyond the Boxscore

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Consensus Top 28 Prospects

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/3/16/5513246/2014-pittsburgh-pirates-consensus-top-28-prospects

    12 News Press

    Spring training: Safety concerns prompt ballclubs to rethink postgame beers

    http://www.news-press.com/article/20140316/SPRINGBREAK/303160038/Spring-training-Safety-concerns-prompt-ballclubs-rethink-postgame-beers

    13 Star Ledger

    As bean-ball war continues, Pirates shut out Phillies

    http://www.nj.com/phillies/index.ssf/2014/03/pirates_shutout_phillies.html

    14 Pirates Site

    Cutch, Walker back Wilk’s impressive start

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/pit/andrew-mccutchen-neil-walker-back-adam-wilks-impressive-start?ymd=20140316&content_id=69446274

    Locke healthy, but won’t be ready for start of season

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140316&content_id=69461198&notebook_id=69461110&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    15 Altoona Mirror

    Lane: Polanco move wasn’t surprising

    http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/580436/Lane–Polanco-move-wasn-t-surprising.html?nav=751

    16 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to speak to Pittsburgh Pirates before spring training game

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/3/17/5517466/steelers-mike-tomlin-pirates-spring-training

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Jean Segura not showing a lot of pop after skipping winter ball

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/brewers-wei-chung-wang-hopes-to-jump-from-rookie-ball-to-majors-b99225486z1-250486971.html

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Wainwright aims to be less predictable

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/wainwright-aims-to-be-less-predictable/article_385cf79e-243b-5837-8406-dbbff63d7ab0.html

    19 Fangraphs

    A Decision Tree Approach to Pitch Prediction

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/a-decision-tree-approach-to-pitch-prediction/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23052

  38. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Revisiting the Steelers decision to resign Sanders in 2013

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-free-agency/2014/3/16/5515890/revisiting-the-steelers-decision-to-resign-sanders-in-2013

    Jerricho Cotchery is not the kind of guy the Steelers should let walk

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/3/16/5515074/jerricho-cotchery-free-agency-steelers-rumors-update

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Looking Back: 5 Talking Points from Week 27 in La Liga

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/looking-back-5-talking-points-week-27-la-liga

    23 BBC Football

    Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26502628
    24 World Soccer

    Fabrizio Miccoli’s mysterious departure from Palermo

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/blogs/fabrizio-miccoli

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Monday Pens Points: Moving On

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/3/17/5514118/monday-pens-points-moving-on

  39. Kurt Miller says:

    Playing Devil’s Advocate here, the Pens doctors don’t have the best track record. Rushed back Sidney Crosby, only to have him sit out again. Jordan Staahl’s comeback from the slashed foot was a mess. They just have a horrible record with injuries.

  40. Matt says:

    Maybe it’s a case of the doctors saying what happened wasn’t a result of playing hockey. They, the doctors, can’t also say that hockey won’t cause it the next time. That would be enough for me to say I’d wait it out.

    DK…Looks like you get a view of another thing West Central Florida is famous for…lightning! As much as I thunderstorms, seeing them roll in off of the Gulf is amazing.

  41. Poz says:

    I too remember the Pens saying Letang might be back in 6-8 weeks. I thought it was a ridiculous statement so soon after such a serious incident. However, after hearing the Pens – and hockey teams in general – provide injury updates, I’ll believe it when the player is back playing. I’ve seen “day-to-day” turn into weeks.

    Letang’s situation is different from ramming a leg into the net. If Letang decided to quit tomorrow I would support his decision. However, in terms of playing again, he should not be the person making the decision.

  42. The Gunner says:

    Mr. Branson better get Andrew Lambo’s plan in order. At 2 for 31, his spring average is .065. I am absolutely appalled by the BMTIB’s apparent lack of concern with the 1B situation.

  43. I too hate those Florida thunderstorms although we get enough of them down here and enough of them roll off the Gulf and the Atlantic, and they can happen all of a sudden as well, but then, Florida is the thunderstorm capital of the world as well as being the Sunshine State, and there’s a fair chance of us getting a thunderstorm here in Daytona Beach today although that happens in Daytona every four days or so, especially in the summertime.

  44. DJ says:

    Not going to panic over the Pens’ weekend. Let’s see where we are with a few guys get back in the lineup . . . too many moving parts right now. Also didn’t sound as if the Flyers were regarding themselves as beasts of the east. They realized their good fortune in catching us at just the right time — particularly sans Kunitz and Neal.

    A little adversity (okay, a lot) may create stronger resolve. At least we won’t suffer from the overconfidence we had last year after the trade deadline. Two weeks from now we should all have a better gauge.

  45. Rbilak says:

    —-An examination also revealed to doctors that Letang had a small hole in his heart, something that he’s had since birth, a potential factor in why this happened.
    —–

    “Potential”. All I know is if I heard potential, that means they cannot say for sure. Other than Teddy Bruschi, I don’t know what you can use as a baseline. He had a hole in heart and came back, but also had a surgery done to correct, something that is different than Letang, his occurred 15 Feb, he returned to NFL action week 8 of the season. Almost 8 months later.

  46. Pucknutz says:

    Wow, don’t know what to think about Letang,
    My gut tells me it is a little spookey for him to come back. I guess that is what DK is calling “common sense” although I am not sure that is exactly the right phrase. But not to argue the semantics my “gut” gets the point.
    On the other hand the Doctors have made a medical decision. Are they always correct, of course not, but they have made the call and will have to live with it right or wrong.
    “Caution” — Hard to define. On one hand the Pens could say, “wait till next season Kris, we just don’t feel comfortable having you play at this point” Too much caution ?
    Practice hard for a few week with extensive medical monitoring and then say good to go. Not enough caution?
    Tanger and the Pens have some really tough decisions to make in the next few weeks. Glad it ain’t me having to make the call.
    As DK notes, you can pretty much bet the house on which way Tanger or any other athlete will make the call. (no he did not say “bet the house” but that’s what I think I correctly read)
    I do not believe the Pens will make the call for competitive reasons. Ya, they would love to have him back but I truly believe this organization actually has a “heart” if I may call it that. So if they let him play I would think that medically the comfort level would be high.
    Whatever the decision, lets hope it is the right one.

  47. Jandy says:

    I’m not in panic mode, but I sure am p*ssed off!

  48. Pucknutz says:

    “too many moving parts”– well said. :)

  49. Dom says:

    That was an embarrassing weekend for the Pens.

  50. Jandy says:

    it sure was, Dom, and I felt bad for your man, Fleury!

  51. Sarah says:

    On the contrary, actually

  52. Dom says:

    Don’t worry about Fleury, he’s as tough as a two dollar steak.

  53. BillyBaduka says:

    +

  54. BillyBaduka says:

    It was.

    It was nice to see them play hockey and try to tie the game Sunday. Too bad it took them 4 periods to figure that out. Especially when they should have known that Philly would agitate, hit and try to get the Pens off their game.

  55. KenKopp says:

    A break for the weary traveler. A couple hours on I-75 and you’re in O Town. You deserve a break.

  56. Sarah says:

    Was any mention made of plans to repair it?
    For me personally, I’d be nervous having him play without the repair.

    And make no mistake, even the migraines are causing damage. White matter in the brain. Microscopic but cumulative. Larger clots, obviously have the potential to do much worse.

    I’d not be considering a return until the PFO is closed.

    Very scary.

  57. Dom says:

    What’s O-town?

  58. There have been too many of these embarrassing Pens losses since the Olympics, and never mind the reasons for them, since all I want to see, naturally, is for them to wake up and start playing every game as if it were their last, the way it ought to be.

  59. Sarah says:

    Preview of coming attractions

  60. BillyBaduka says:

    I hear ya Sarah.

  61. BillyBaduka says:

    I’m guessing Orlando.

  62. DJ says:

    Depres takes a penalty on Saturday (a ridiculous call, btw) and he’s out of the lineup on Sunday.

    Malkin continually takes stupid ones and zero repercussions from coaching staff.

  63. Jandy says:

    I’ve repeatedly called for Geno to be benched for a game or three.

  64. Jandy says:

    Wasn’t that one of those boy bands????

  65. Stuart says:

    I’m thinking that Kris is cleared to return to full practice means that he will be monitored heavily, and not cleared for game action for quite a while.

    I’m also thinking that no one on the current roster will feel right about banging him against the boards in practice. Kris is a long way from being ready for game action, I still don’t see him returning to that this season.

    Stuart

  66. DJ says:

    One of my favorite Pens but they need to sit him, even if a couple shifts next time it happens.

    There needs to be a message of some kind, otherwise the coaching staff is neutered. Babcock and others wouldn’t put up with it.

  67. Jandy says:

    They’re so neutered, their squeaky voices will never be the same…

  68. Brandie says:

    Good observation Mr. Thompson. They should be sucking whey drop of marrow out of the season instead of just sucking.

    Alas teams go through these stretches. Just have to hang in there.

  69. Dom says:

    You’re thinking of nsnyc.

  70. KenKopp says:

    Orlando it is. I live an hour away from there. O-Town is local slang I guess.

  71. Brandie says:

    O-Town was also a boy band in the late 90′s,early 2000′s.

  72. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sounds like Billy Joel to me.

  73. Jandy says:

    Dom believe me, I know N’Sync lol. I raised two young girls who loved them. My youngest also followed O Town. I believe the lead singer’s name was Ashley. She had a crush on him.

  74. Jandy says:

    It’s still rock ‘n roll to me ;)

  75. Jandy says:

    The oldest daughter helped Joey Fatone put Justin Timberlake in an elevator when N’Sync played in State College at the Bryce Jordan Center. He was falling down drunk and didn’t know what he was doing.

  76. Hankpsu says:

    Sorry, DK, should have been more clear…those scenarios i laid out only describe a situation where the person has had a stroke. If you or I were coincidentally found to have one (that emedicine article I linked to cited a study that 27% of asymptomatic people in an autopsy study were found to have one, and they estimate that at minimum 10-15% of the general population does), then there would be no intervention recommended.

    That said, the risk of a second stroke in someone who already had one is higher (almost 4% per year according to that paper). That’s obviously not an insignificant number, and frankly if it were me and I’d already had one stroke, I’d choose to have the PFO repaired. There’s even a newer approach to doing this that is less invasive (i.e. not the traditional open heart surgery approach) that would be faster to recover from (though still not fast enough to play this year).

    Still, this is far from a black and white issue and if Letang doesn’t want the repair for some reason (or wants to delay it and take aspirin in the meantime), again I don’t thonk he jeopardizes himself any more by playing vs sitting

  77. hockeymonster says:

    DJ, you feelin ok? When did you get to be so positive? Maybe seeing orpik score a goal 1st hand changed you! :)

  78. hockeymonster says:

    I echo that DJ. If there’s one thing we can definitely criticize disco for this weekend, its the blatant and repetitive lack of discipline. Game after game, season after season.

  79. Hankpsu says:

    ***That first paragraph should be read, “if you or I were coincidentally found to have a PFO” not a stroke obviously

  80. hockeymonster says:

    Despres in Engo’s spot on PP before shortie could’ve made the difference in the game. But we’ll never know.

    And considering how well despres has played since outdoor game, why didn’t disco stick up for despres and say something along the lines of “good job defending the front of net, that was a bad call”. He could’ve told him to stay under control without scratching him, especially since that was rinaldo and the Refs should’ve called rinaldo for skating into despres a half hour after puck was covered.

    I want my 6’4 1st round pick getting a forearm shiver up defending front of cage!

  81. js1954 says:

    People talking about a “minor” stroke are talking about the one Letang had, not one they or their loved one has had. Want to win the cup as much as anyone, but hope he isn’t in a game before September.

  82. 21sthebest says:

    What’s the matter with the crowd you’re seeing don’t you know that they’re out of touch?

  83. Jandy says:

    A good point. Still am leery of Tanger getting into too much just yet…

  84. Brandie says:

    Decided to weigh in on LeTang. Maybe LeTang wants to try the least invasive solution first (aspirin regimen with monitoring) to see if he can remain stable. One would hope that LeTang has worked closely with his treatment team and has discussed all options, weighed the pros and cons, and is making a well informed decision to, at the her least, practice.

    That said, the Lend can make a decision too as to whether or not they want him to play at all turing the remainder of this and the post seasons. I would rather LeTang walk away from the game, under his own power, than to see him carried away from the game and from his family in a body bag because championships, money,and emotions were considered more important. Next time, LeTamg might not be so lucky as to have someone find him.

    BTW…DK…Good read this morning.

  85. theplanisworking says:

    * Cue rim shot *

  86. Jandy says:

    Good stuff Brandicita. Even understood all the Brandie-typos ;)

  87. Jandy says:

    Top O’ the Mornin to ya, Plandanimal :)

  88. theplanisworking says:

    How is Austin Mahone doing, Jandy? ;)

  89. Brandie says:

    At the her least…into each and everyone’s life a little typo must fall.

  90. Brandie says:

    Austin Mahone is soooooooo dreamy! (Teenager squeal.) I am going to marry him some day! :)

  91. Jandy says:

    Dunno Planimal, haven’t seen his commercial lately…he musta ticked somebody off ;)

  92. Jandy says:

    How well do I now this :D

  93. Jandy says:

    See? LOL

    *know

  94. theplanisworking says:

    I thought maybe you gave him the 9 wides……

  95. theplanisworking says:

    Good Morn’, oh Boy Band One.

    Are you feeling any better about the Pens this past weekend?

  96. Brandie says:

    Good morning Plandy Koufax.

  97. Brandie says:

    Good morning Plandy Koufax.

  98. Brandie says:

    Sorry for the double post.

  99. Jandy says:

    nah, Plan, he’s not a PITA like Beiber is.

  100. Damon says:

    Quick thoughts about the Pens awful weekend:
    -D’oh.
    -I’m not sure if it was the 3 days they had off or the news they’d be without Kunitz and Neal, but man they looked so uninspired on Saturday. Even Sid looked to be standing around in the defensive zone at times which I can’t remember that happening much before – ever. Then again finding out Pyatt would be his LW might have been unnerving.
    -The Flyers are in the heads of the Pens best players which is really, really bad seeing that they are the ones that need to carry the team in the playoffs. So are the Bruins for that matter. Not sure why they are so easily frustrated when they persevered so well in the two Cup finals with Detroit.
    -Fleury deserved better.
    -Despres is getting very frustrating seeing that he keeps making the same mistakes he was making three years ago.
    -Engelland was very good this weekend. Still think he should be the 4th line RW though…
    -Sad when Megna and Gibbons has to give the team a spark. Also, those two seem to work really well together. Just don’t see – when everyone is healthy – Bylsma putting them on the 3rd line with Sutter….even though that might have potential with their speed and Sutter seemingly able to work well with speedy wingers.
    -Yes the Pens came out hitting Sunday, but it seemed the Pens players were always on the ice after their hit and not the Flyer thereby taking themselves way out of the play.
    -Man I hate losing to the Flyers. Felt like 2012 all over again.
    -They had better come out Tuesday and a play smarter, controlled-aggressive game against a team they owe (Dallas beat the snot out of them in Dallas), or we could see a similar result. Dallas is also fighting for a playoff spot. So is Detroit who is next.
    -Pyatt has to be a Bylsma pet/favorite because he for whatever reason gets more time & opportunities than Goc or Glass….or at least that is how it seems.
    -The Pens traded a 3rd and 5th pick for Goc, and he isn’t out there much. He was the last one to get a chance on Sid’s LW when everyone else soiled the bed.

    Anyway…….they need to win Tuesday to help forget those two games….a little anyway.

    As for Letang – I’m with DK. When that news came out, I was very surprised and my first thought was they were rushing him back after being embarrassed. Only other thought I had was maybe they were just trying to give the team a positive look on things. Who knows….

  101. Jandy says:

    No, I’m not, Planimal. I’m still p*ssed >:<

  102. NMR says:

    I suggest anyone who is somehow still concerned with Andrew Lambo’s spring training statistics look up those of Mike Carp and Jame Loney from 2013.

    Say it with me: THEY JUST. DON’T. MATTER.

  103. Jandy says:

    I’d love to see Jayson Megna get a lot more ice time…

  104. Jandy says:

    ++++

  105. theplanisworking says:

    Its ok, Brandie Koufax…………….. ;)

    it was so nice, you had to post it twice. :)

  106. theplanisworking says:

    PREACH IT, REVEREND MUPPET !!

  107. theplanisworking says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to wish Everyone a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

    Being as I am part Irish, I would like to shed a few facts on this day fer ya lads.

    St. Patrick might not have been Irish. He might have been Scotch.
    St. Patrick’s color was blue. Green is the Irish color.
    March 17th is the date of St. Patrick’s death. Think about that.
    St. Patrick’s Day is a totally American holiday.
    Shamrocks are not the symbol of Ireland. Harps are.

    So as many of you will be wolfing down corned beef and cabbage (nope, not Irish either), and sucking down Irish beer, you are almost 90% wrong in celebrating today. But, I guess its the thought that counts…………..

  108. Milo Hamilton says:

    Happy St. Patty’s Day everybody.

  109. Brandie says:

    Thank you for the history lesson. I am Irish too, through my mom’s family. They were direct descendants of the Dalton Gang!

  110. Brandie says:

    Back arch’s Milo O’Hamilton!

  111. Brandie says:

    Yes Revinator…Little. :)

  112. Jandy says:

    Green beer, magically delicious! happy Green Day Milo!

  113. Andrew says:

    At bit of tire fire further up there on the blog.

  114. Brandie says:

    Tire Fire is puting it mildly…

  115. Dom says:

    Anyone think there’s a chance the Panthers get by Florida in the second round.

  116. Bizrow says:

    Happy St Patricks Day lunatics

    Two weeks till opening day ;-)

  117. Andrew says:

    Carp: .175/.245/.289
    Loney: .228/.279/.316

    If that 2-28 BABIP regresses Lambo can get there.

  118. AJS says:

    A lot has changed since those finals against detroit.

    Those teams were largely built under the guidance of Therrien that preached responsible defense first hockey and then counter punching with offense when the opportunity presented itself.

    The cup winning team was reigned in too much, they brought in the players coach who introduced some pressure on the offensive side but that team still had been taught how to play D by Therrien.

    Once Therrien left the lunatics started running the asylum. Run and gun fast break hockey became the norm, constantly looking to play offense and attack without stopping to defend when appropriate. Not the system the banker behind the bench was calling for but once he started preaching attack attack attack, the players took it too far.

    They then got thumped by a couple of teams with similar amounts of talent but way more discipline(did I justcall the Flyers disciplined? Yikes!)

    And then it happened again.

    And not it is mental. Even with the banker behind the bench trying to put a renewed emphasis on defense. that D has been slowly slipping away. Partially through attrition. I speak mostly of Martin(yes THAT Martin, the one who we all wanted to hang from the rafters less than 2 years ago) not of LeTang.

    And with Disco Dan the banker behind the bench, I still see a similar fate this spring. Winningest coach in team history or not, the fact remains that this guy just can’t win in the playoffs. Between 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, and team USA this Olympics, his teams just seem to fall flat come win or go home time.

  119. Dom says:

    Edinson Volquez made a rotation spot despite having an ERA above 11.

    With management refusing to sign or resign anyone for the lineup and with the loss of AJ Burnett, I’m thinking we’ll end the season below .500.

  120. Baywatch says:

    Bucs-Yankees Game Day thread up! I left the chips and dip and came back for you! Hey, I haven’t read through … anybody down for a DK’s Blog Bracket Challenge?

  121. The Gunner says:

    The difference in this situation is at least Carp and Loney had some type of track record in the major leagues with moderate success. We cannot say the same about Lambo.

  122. NMR says:

    AJ Burnett, 20+ WAR player.

  123. bpn8pitt says:

    Yup.

    And no one seems to mention that Lambo is learning a new postion as well.

  124. NMR says:

    Not a difference, Gunner, a completely different logic.

    Which is the point.

    If you aren’t comfortable with Andrew Lambo now, you weren’t comfortable with Andrew Lambo last October.

    Doesn’t have a shred of a bit of a point to do with his spring training batting average.

  125. Baywatch says:

    Don’t know how we pull it off, Dom, or if it’s OK to work out the logistics on the blog. DK, any insight/ideas?

  126. chethejet1 says:

    Pitt nice Tournament in the ACC. Pens got run over by the flyers and would have even if Kunitz and Neal played. Like rock and match and paper, elbows in face beat stick on pucks. I don’t know where the directive comes from to not have a team with a edge, maybe Mario, maybe Shero or Bylsma. But it is clear a physical hitting take your head off including your star players is a joke. pens have gone from Roberto Duran tough as they come to no mas during Bylsma’s tenure.

  127. NMR says:

    Which means what, exactly?

  128. The Gunner says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I want to see Lambo succeed, too. He’s better off learning 1B @ Indy than Pgh, he has options.

  129. Dom says:

    Let’s see if anyone else is willing to join.

  130. bpn8pitt says:

    I wonder what Ned Colletti thinks of Andrew Lambo platooning at first and Volquez being in the Pirates rotation.

  131. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t think there is a lack of concern. Because I think they believe that they can always upgrade if they need to. It doesn’t have to be ‘solved’ by opening day.

    ‘Appalled’ may be a little too strong for me

  132. The Gunner says:

    so what is the logic I am missing here?

  133. Thundercrack says:

    With all the injured pitchers that seem to dropping like flies the past few days, I would bet that Volquez would still be in a lot of teams’ spring training camps.

    Being paid $5 million is another story.

  134. The Gunner says:

    we need offense TC!!

  135. NMR says:

    The logic is that players make teams due to talent and experience, NOT spring training stats.

  136. NMR says:

    Did any starting pitchers sign for less this year?

  137. Baywatch says:

    Should have put that DE-Bonus clause in … On the other hand if you DON’T do so well, we bust you back to the minimum/kitchen help payroll.

  138. NMR says:

    Dee Gordon is Ned Colleti’s 2nd baseman, you realize that, right?

  139. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Milo! Happy St. Patty’s!

  140. Dom says:

    I believe it was below 2 last year.

  141. Thundercrack says:

    I would have to check.
    And I realize that we are asking Volquez to be no more than a #5 starter, but I really wonder if we’ll get $5 million of value from him. But I do think he has more upside than Sanchez had last year….and there is still some time for him to figure some things out and improve.

  142. Andrew says:

    Gunner, come early May you could definitely look prophetic, I just think it is too early. The Dodgers are running Dee Gordon out at second, the Yankees infield is Brain Roberts, Derek Jeter, and Kelly Johnson, teams even ones with huge payrolls can have holes. I would’ve love some more certainty at first but outside Loney I’m not sure anyone available would have provided that.

  143. Jandy says:

    Happy Green Day, Biz!

  144. Jim S. says:

    If I were Kris Letang, it would take an awful lot of doctors telling me everything is going to be just fine to convince me that I should be playing again so soon – if at all. I won’t criticize whatever decision he makes. I’ll trust that he is getting the best advice and care possible, and that he is proceeding with caution. I am not a doctor, but this just seems so quick to return. It worries me.

  145. bpn8pitt says:

    You arent missing any logic here, Gunner.

    NMR just refuses to see the Volquez was the worst pitcher in the NL last year, and its possible Ray Searage cant fix him. And that Andrew Lambo is quite possibly a AAAA bat, struggling to learn a new position and taking it into the batters box with him.

    But Travis Snider is in great shape.

  146. JohninOshkosh says:

    Seventy-five years ago my Irish-Norwegian Mother’s protestant neighbors admonished their children not to play with “those Irish Catholics.” Now, congenial messages are freely given celebrating Irish heritage. Winning the Second World War, prevailing through the Cold War and advancement of civil rights and tolerance are the greatest achievements of the American generations that went before me.

    Hope you are all wearing green, wouldn’t want anyone getting pinched!

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  147. Jim S. says:

    Really, Dom? 94 wins down to 80 or less, just like that?

  148. NMR says:

    My comment wasn’t meant in terms of value or anything like that. Just seems like $5m is about the floor for ANY FA starting pitcher.

  149. Jim S. says:

    Hello, Brandie Alomar, Jr.

  150. NMR says:

    Like I said. AJ Burnett, 20+ WAR player. :)

  151. NMR says:

    Your lack of ability to read and comprehend basic sentences is truly stunning, bpn.

    Why don’t you bring AW into this again?

  152. Jim S. says:

    A Joey Fat One reference!

  153. Jim S. says:

    Really. AJ is a very good pitcher, or at least he was the last 2 years. But, I don’t see him not being there as previewing that great of a dropoff all by itself. We got very little from Wandy last year, and we could easily get a lot more this year. We have Cole for an entire season. Charlie Morton will be here for a whole season, and he sure looked good down the stretch last year. There won’t be any Jonathan Sanchez starts this year.

    I think the depth in AAA is pretty good, with Irwin healthy again, Cumpton being a year more experienced, plus I sort of liked what I saw of Wilk yesterday. We have a more experienced Locke this season. Volquez might or might not give us much. Did I mention Taillon?

    I think the starting pitching is in pretty solid shape, particularly if Wandy stays healthy and is Wandy again.

  154. Jandy says:

    he and his brother are both good guys, Jimster. Much nicer than some other “stars”

  155. bpn8pitt says:

    …But the Dodgers and Yankees can fix those pretty quick by opening up the the wallet again, Andrew.

    In regards to Snider and Lambo, Ive never understood how for years the Pirates could struggle to teach guys THEY drafted and tried to develop, then failed. But somehow they thought they could take another teams busted prospects and fix them? The one guy I could think of that they did have some success doing that with, GI Jones, they decided they couldnt afford.

    I dont get it man. When the games start for real Im gonna pipe down. I just dont agree with “This is no big deal yet.” This could be a potential disaster come June if Taillion and Polanco ARENT ready.

  156. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know what everyone feels about Pitt’s seeding, but even with some of their struggles this season, I thought they deserved better than the last #9 (#36, overall) slot that the committee awarded them. Thanks for participating, Pitt. For your troubles, if you can get by Colorado, you get to play the top overall seed in its home state.

    Some of the schools ahead of them – GW, Memphis, Gonzaga, UCONN, Texas – to name a handful … they all could have played UVA as well as Pitt did both times this season?

    It was not a vintage year for Pitt hoops, and I’m not saying they deserved some plum seeding, but I don’t think a #7 would have been out of line, and certainly avoiding the top seed in its home state if they get to Round 2 was not asking a lot IMO. I know they lacked in signature wins, and their out of conference schedule was not solid. But, there are teams that got slotted ahead of them that played a lot of clunkers this year. Pitt got beaten handily by exactly 1 team this year, and even that was a close game at halftime. Seems to me Pitt is never a favorite of the committee, for whatever reason.

  157. Jim S. says:

    Jim Irsay arrested for DWI.

  158. theplanisworking says:

    I think past results are why Pitt is never a committee fave.
    They have been given #1 seeds in previous years, only to go down early.

    The school that should be upset this year is Louisville, at a #4 seed.
    I see motivation there.

  159. theplanisworking says:

    That’s all part of building things the “Colt Way”. ;)

  160. JohninOshkosh says:

    It was a tough draw, to be sure. I watched Colorado in the Pac 12 tournament. Wasn’t all that impressed. Wasn’t that impressed with the Pac 12 in general (now, watch, they will send a couple of teams to the national semifinals). I think Pitt can take Colorado. I think a one game advancement in the tournament would generally be seen (except, outside of this blog, that is) as a very successful season for the Panthers, especially given the preseason expectations.

    As for Florida. Tough to play them on their home soil, but Pitt was destined to get a tough opponent if they advanced. Wisconsin beat Florida earlier in the season. They are a talented team, but if Zanna and Patterson play well, the Gators will have their hands full. How great a story would it be if the Panthers bust the brackets and advance to the Sweet 16 ?

  161. The Gunner says:

    I don’t want to be prophetic in this case – I want Lambo to be successful; I like the kid.

    Despite all the other opinions here today about ST etc., based on what we’ve seen so far in 2014, 1B for the Pirates continues to be a major weakness for an otherwise, pretty solid team.

  162. Sarah says:

    On Pens v PHL…..I think the most nauseating thing about the whole weekend was realizing (as AJs said above) that the Flyers, that’s THE FLYERS, Peeps!….are now smarter and more disciplined than we are.

    And that’s whilst being coached by the likes of Craig Berube, whose main job as a player was getting punched in the face.
    Seriously, Oy.

  163. theplanisworking says:

    But the Pens sell out.
    Gotta keep your eye on the ball…….

  164. Sarah says:

    Hah!
    Sadly, yes, Planster, you’re spot on.
    Sadly.

  165. Sarah says:

    Yep.
    My brother had a v-fib (cardiac event) while we were playing tennis together….and I can tell you that witnessing CPR on a loved one is definitely NOT something you want to witness.

    Thankfully he is fine now.

    But this whole thing gives me the willies big time.

    I hope they go for repair of Kris’ heart and dint even consider playing until after that….

  166. Jandy says:

    It’s definitely a scary thing, and not to be taken lightly…by anyone involved.
    Let’s pray the correct decision is made.

  167. Jim S. says:

    Louisville “looks” great, but their resume stinks. They definitely deserved a higher seed, though. The “eye” test suggests to me that they will make a run. But, they played in a weak conference. Yesterday, Pitino was on TV lobbying for them to get a #1, and he talked about their win at SMU as a big win.

    As for Pitt and it’s history, first of all, history is not supposed to play any part in the selection for a particular year.

    Pitt was a #1 seed in ’09 and ’11. They won 3 games in ’09, losing out on the Final Four on a last second shot by Nova. In ’11, I believe they won 1 game.

    Aside from ’09, they reached the Sweet 16 in ’02/’03/’04/’07. There are a lot of programs that have never gotten to the Sweet 16 in that time.

    I’m not saying they haven’t underperformed vs. their seed in more years than not. But, again, that is not supposed to have anything to do with it. I just think they earned more than the #36 slot this year.

  168. Jim S. says:

    Glad things worked out for your brother. That is scary.

  169. theplanisworking says:

    It’s not supposed to have anything to do with it, but it does. They are human.

    Actually, the way Pitt played down the stretch (excluding the ACC Toonament), I was expecting a worse seed for Pitt, based on the committee’s history.

    All green-dyed water under the bridge now.
    Gotta play the games.

  170. theplanisworking says:

    And, if the sellout streak ends, Despres will be benched in another fit of rage……………….. ;)

  171. Jim S. says:

    I don’t see them getting by Florida, Osh. Wisconsin is a better team than Pitt, and Wisconsin beat Florida at home. But, you never can tell what might happen in the NCAA Tourney. I do like that Pitt seems to be on an upswing. Of course, if they don’t get past Colorado it will be a moot point.

  172. Sarah says:

    It really was. I couldn’t walk on a tennis court without hyperventilating for about 2 years.

  173. Bizrow says:

    I saw an ad in the Trib (I think it was the Trib), Pens were offering tickets at 30% off for a game coming up

  174. Andrew says:

    I do not think past results play any role in selection. The committee basing seeding on a single elimination tournament played by players no longer their respective teams from past years is highly suspect.

    Jim I agree Pitt is underseeded, ESPN’s BIP which takes into account margin of victory/loss projected Pitt as 4 seed (also had Louisville as one). By RPI, which the committee uses, Pitt is 39th with 1-7 record against the top 25, so I understand there seed. In the end a single elimination tournament determining a season’s champion is not really about fairness.

  175. Jandy says:

    I saw that on the Pen’s website.

  176. theplanisworking says:

    Wow !

    That is news.

  177. Jag7 says:

    Agree totally with you Mike. Someone should let him know he gets the last change at home b/c no coach could possibly be that silly to let the opposing coach dictate who plays against his 2 best players. Also, find me another head coach who would even consider putting Engo on the point on the PP. What a joke.

  178. theplanisworking says:

    Sorry, I still feel it does play a small role in the process.
    The committee is human.

    It’s one of those things that they would never admit to, so it’s moot now.

    Just gotta play the games.

  179. Andrew says:

    I find it suspect but I can buy a small role, I think I’m giving the NCAA a little too much credit for being logical and rational.

  180. theplanisworking says:

    HA!

  181. Jim S. says:

    On an unrelated ticket buying note, have the Pirates said anything about ticket sales so far this year? I assume they are expecting an increase. Has anyone heard anything about projections?

    Or, is that proprietary info. that will be released at a later date – like major injuries to key back-ups?

  182. Jim S. says:

    That is an ugly record in Top 25 by Pitt, Andrew. Too many close ones given away to good teams – UVA x 2, UC, UNC, Cuse x 2. Just win 2 of those 6, or even just one of the games vs. Cuse, and they get seeded a lot better maybe.

    And, the ACC just wasn’t that great this year. Maybe they can do better in the Dance. But, they were 6-8 vs. A10 teams, as an example, and I doubt they played many road games with A10 teams.

  183. Jim S. says:

    Stop saying the committee is human, plan. I prefer to think of them as being from a zombie apocalypse.

  184. Brandie says:

    Greetings Jim Beam!

  185. 21sthebest says:

    Jim, at one point not long before the ACC tournament, you said a couple of times that Pitt doesn’t deserve to be in the tournament. I believe you also said that you didn’t want them to go to the tournament? But now you think a 9 seed is too low?

  186. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t understand why we should care about the announcing of injuries during spring training or ticket sales. Has any reporter asked about ticket sales because I’m not expecting a press release about them.

  187. Jandy says:

    :blink:

  188. 21sthebest says:

    Jandy?

  189. Jim S. says:

    I care about how ticket sales are going because I want to see them fill the park and I want the team to do well in that regard. I was just wondering if anything had been said in that regard, as I had not heard anything.

  190. Jim S. says:

    They were on an awful stretch where they didn’t seem to be able to do anything right. They did not have a consistent offense, were not rebounding well, and their defense was spotty, all after a very strong start. For awhile, I actually thought they were a bubble team, and I wasn’t sure they deserved to get in the way they were playing because I expected them to limp through the remainder of the schedule and then get waxed in the first round of the ACC Tournament based on how they were playing. Then, they won 3 of their last 4 regular season games, even with the one terrible finish vs. NCSU.

    I listened to a lot of people nationally who said they had work to do. It wasn’t just me.

    Then, they destroyed Wake in their best peformance of the year, followed by maybe an even better performance (for 35 min) considering the competition in the next game vs UNC. That was their most significant win of the year, I think we’d all agree. Then, in the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament, they played the best team in the ACC (regular season and tournament) straight up for 40 min, barely losing. And, as was shown over and over on ESPN and other outlets, they got a tough call at the very end of that game that might have cost them a chance at a win. I was not the only person who took note of that.

    So, yeah, I think they were playing as good of basketball when the ACC Tourney ended as anyone in the conference outside of UVA. Things change quickly for many teams in key late regular season and tournament games. I do think as it shook out that Pitt is better than the 36th best team, and I also don’t think I was being unreasonable for thinking at one point that they were teetering on the brink of not even making it if they continued to play badly. That’s why everyone agreed they had work to do to finish the regular season and tournament.

    Keep in mind that at large teams who don’t make it are often much, much more highly regarded than the winners of small conferences. So, by saying Pitt might not deserve to get in I was not saying they were the 69th or worse team in the country.

  191. Jim S. says:

    And, as for saying I didn’t want them to get in, I believe I said that if they lost their last regular season game vs. Clemson (which they won in unbelievably dramatic fashion) and then lost their first ACC Tournament game, I thought they would be better off not getting in. I believe DK tweeted something similar that afternoon.

    So, instead of finishing with 2 straight losses, they finished with 3 straight wins and an almost win vs. one of the top teams in the country.

  192. The mother of one of the teachers at Daytona Beach Community (now Daytona Beach State) College when I was going there during the 70s and 80s was a Dalton, and I was told that members of the Dalton family founded Dalton, Georgia. Also, the mother of the movie critic Rex Reed was a Dalton.

  193. Brandie says:

    I have some famous relatives then.

  194. 21sthebest says:

    Jim, I didn’t hear anybody nationally at any point say they didn’t deserve to get in. That’s the comment of yours I was asking about. To me, to say about 10 days or so ago that they didn’t deserve to get in comes across as there’s nothing they can do between that point and the end of the season to get in outside of winning the conference tournament.

  195. Jim S. says:

    I’m really not sure what you want from me on this, 21. There were people in ESPN and CBS studios, as well as radio personalities who, towards the end of the season said Pitt was at risk of not getting in if they lost their last couple of regular season games and then lost in the ACC tournament.

    In fact, that might have been true. They finished 11-7 in the ACC. Had they lost the Clemson game, which they would have if not for an amazing comeback in the last half minute or so, they would have been 10-8. If they had then lost in the first round of the tournament, which would have been easy to see as a possibility at that point, they would have been 10-9. They would have been a lot farther down the list of at large teams at that point. They would have been on a very bad streak at the end of the year, going from about a 7-1 or 8-1 start in the league to finish at 10-9. Are you really telling me no one but me thought if that was the case they would be at risk for missing out on the tournament? If so, I don’t think you listened to much analysis nationally, and you didn’t read a lot of the comments here.

    Pitt’s fortunes, and the quality of their play has been on a see saw ride this year. I’m not making that up. They have gone from playing like one of the 15 best teams in the country to a team that was not playing like an NCAA team, to one that was once again playing its best ball of the season at the end. As we heard last weekend for the first time, the injuries to Zanna and Patterson were a lot more serious than originally thought, but that they were now healthy for the first time again in the ACC Tournament. That, to me, was the biggest factor to getting them back on track. Once I saw Patterson and Zanna again playing very good ball last weekend, I felt a lot better about the team. I hadn’t really taken that into account earlier, because Dixon and the players, to their credit, downplayed the injuries. So, I assumed the injuries were not as bad as they actually were. And, the team obviously played a lot better at the very end. And finishing 13-8 with a semi-final loss to UVA in the conference tournament is a lot better than limping home 10-9. And, yes, to me it is the difference between possibly not making the tournament and deserving a higher seed than 9. Keep in mind, the last few at large teams in get seeded in the 11 range. It’s easy for me to see an 11 becoming a 7 with the strong finish Pitt had. It’s not uncommon at all for teams to make big jumps in the last couple of weekends.

 
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